SUMMARY: Aragorn goes with his family, and Elladan and Elrohir on a hunting trip that goes disastrously wrong. He is around four years old.

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing, absolutely nothing, this is for my own enjoyment.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is going along with the AU timeline that Aragorn's mother, Gilraen died the same time that his father, Arathorn, died. Any mistakes are my own, I do not have a beta, so I do my best to correct whatever mistakes I can, but I'm not perfect, so bear with me. Also, thanks to my sister who read the very early draft of it and approved of the story, as well as Vi for some of the early reviews. Thank you both very much!

Dark Terror

By Tiger

They came upon the camp suddenly with no warning. They were ruthless beasts who cared nothing about life except how to extinguish it from all creatures except for themselves. But they liked to have fun with their prey before killing them. Oh they liked to have fun. It was just a woman and her child when they found them. There was no sign of any other people around so that orcs thought that they were safe. They didn't even use stealth; they just crashed through the woods, alerting the mother. But they didn't care. How much trouble could one woman be?

Gilraen heard the breaking of wood and the primitive scream of the orcs. Her blood ran cold. There were a lot of them coming her way. Too many of them. She ran inside to grab the sword Arathorn left her and woke her sleeping son, shaking hi.

"Aragorn! Aragorn! Awaken!" she whispered hurriedly. She quickly glanced at the opening of the tent. They were getting closer and closer. The sounds coming out of their mouths, the foul high-pitched shrieks nearly stopped her heart. Turning her head, she saw Aragorn sit up and sleepily rub his eyes with his hands. His eyes widened as he heard the sounds. Young as he was, he was only four, he knew those sounds. They were orcs and they frightened him.

"Mother," he whispered. "What's happening? Why are they here?" He tried not to cry, hew as a big boy now, if he weren't, the Lord Elrond wouldn't have let him go on the hunting trip. But he was so frightened of the creatures screaming in the dark wood. Tears ran down his chubby face. "Is it orcs?" he asked.

"Hush, Aragorn!" Gilraen softly cried. She drew her son closer to herself, softly stroking his hair. As she heard the orcs draw closer, he heart came to the realization that this was the last time she would be with her son. She held him tightly for a moment then she bent down to be eye level with Aragorn.

"When I tell you to run, you run, and run up to a tree," she instructed him. "Do you understand me?" She asked. When Aragorn didn't answer, she asked again, more forcefully, shaking him a little as she did. He finally nodded. She kissed the baby soft cheek and handed a pin to him. "Here, keep it safe for mother."

With one last rushed embrace, they ran outside of the tent holding hands. It was darker outside than before. Aragorn looked up. Clouds had covered part of the moon. He looked back down and saw them coming. Bulging yellow eyes stared wickedly back at him. He clutched Gilraen's hand and moved closer to her. He felt reassured when he felt a soft, strong, hand squeeze back.

"Aragorn, now!" Gilraen hissed through clenched teeth.

"I-I can't! I'm too scared, Mother!" Aragorn wailed. He was frozen. The eyes in the darkness froze him.

"Go, go now, just run and don't look back, no matter what happens to me." She said, giving him a hard push towards the forest, the one opposite, but still close to the direction of the orcs. "Go!" she commanded. He silently took off. As she watched him run into the wild, she cried. Her heart broke for her son, for he was alone. So she did the only thing she could do. She raised the blade of the sword she was holding to her face and screamed.

"Arathorn!" was her cry. Her last call to her husband. "Arathorn! Elladan! Elrohir!" she screamed again. Her husband might not hear here, but Elrond's sons would. She was sure of it. They had to. She looked up again, took a deep breath before pointing the sword at the orcs, crying a battle cry and fought with all of her might. She couldn't fight for herself, she was too afraid to, but she could fight for her son, and fight she would. The first clash of metal upon metal brought her back to reality.

Aragorn ran as hard as he could. He hesitated at the mouth of the wood before plunging into its protective darkness. He never knew how he did it, but he raced up the nearest tree he could, his fear propelling him upwards. HE rested onto top of the second lowest branch, tiredness catch up with him. He turned around, thinking that his mother followed him after calling his father's name, but she was not there. He was alone in the tree, which looked over the vast forest and the Misty Mountains.

He knew that he was safe up in the tree, orcs could not climb trees. His father had told him so many times before. Even with that thought in his mind, he wondered why his mother still had not come for him. He peered through the leaves and branches of the tree and soon found out why.

His mother was still there fighting the orcs. He wanted to go and help her, he wanted to be big and strong like his father, he wanted to be able to protect his mother. He started to go down the tree, but the words his mother spoke to him came back. "No matter what happens to me, don't look back." What could he do? He couldn't fight, but he had to do something. But he couldn't, he was too frightened to. He couldn't bear to watch the battle at his campsite, but a scream from his mother forced him to look again.

Arathorn crouched down behind a bush and knocked his arrow. He slowly pulled back at the bowstring until his right hand was under his chin. He aimed at the deer and held his position for a moment, waiting for the perfect moment to shoot. Then he released his arrow. The deer fell, and he knew that his arrow had been true. This was a successful hunting trip. He smiled as he imagined the look on his young son's face when he would walk into the campsite with a great deer slung across his shoulders. Arathorn walked up to the deer and prepared to heave it over his shoulders when Elladan and Elrohir jumped out of the bushes to congratulate him.

"Congratulations, Arathorn! Now you get to move this beast back to the campsite," Elrohir joked with a wide grin on his face.

"Of course!" agreed Elladan, picking up where his brother left off. "There is a price to being successful you know."

"Ha ha, of-," Arathorn stopped, suddenly he heard something and what he heard wasn't a pleasant sound. "Do the two of you hear anything?" he asked. The twins cocked their heads. One look between the three of them said everything. They heard a familiar sound coming from the direction of their camp.

"Orcs!" the three of them said at once. Arathorn plucked the arrow he had just shot into the deer and put it back into his quiver. The brothers and him ran back to their camp. About half way there, they heard Gilraen calling Arathorn's name first, then Elladan's and finally Elrohir's. Arathorn's heart slowly filled with dread.

When they reached the camp, they knew that Gilraen had been fighting, but not for how long. The twins raised their bows and arrows and shot many of the orcs dead. Arathorn rushed forward, with his mighty sword of Gondor drawn, to save his beloved. He did not reach her in time. She had just killed tow orcs that had set fire to the camp, and now she was battling with another one. She had just parried a blow and a sudden tiredness overcame her that proved to be her undoing. As she paused for a precious breath, she felt an overwhelming, burning pain in her chest. She screamed with anger, now that everything was the end for her. It was the scream of someone who had lost hope.

Arathorn had just reached her when he saw the orc plunge a crude sword into her chest. He felt the pain that she felt, so close was their bond. "Gilraen, no!" he yelled, rushing towards her while running his sword through the orc. He caught her as she fell limply into her arms.

"Illuvatar, no," he brokenly whispered as he held her. Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled softly at him.
"Arathorn," she whispered before he saw the life go out of her blank, blue eyes. She felt cold in his arms. A tear fell from his face, and he nearly lost all his hope when a thought came to him.

"Aragorn! Where's Aragorn? Aragorn!" he yelled into the wilderness. Where was his son? He turned wildly around, looking for his son, killing orcs left and right as he did so. Then he saw the burning tent and feared the worst.

"AHHHHH!" he roared in pain. He renewed his fighting with all of the vengeance he had inside himself.

Aragorn whipped his face around when he heard his mother's scream. He saw her getting killed and his father too late to save her. He made a decision. He had to go down and help his father. There weren't many orcs left anyways. But all he had was his little knife and his mother's silver- leaf pin, how was he to fight? He paused, nearly down the tree. But he wanted to be with his father and mother again, he didn't want to be alone. Fighting the monster in the night was a risk he was willing to take.

He ran back to the camp, somewhat afraid of the dead orcs that were lying about. They were a few orcs left now. Aragorn could hear the whistle of Elladan and Elrohir's arrows as they flew into the orcs. He could also hear the harsh clash of metal and flesh as he watched his father fight.

Arathorn had just killed three of the four orcs who had fought with him. He forgot about the fourth. A fatal mistake. He turned away from the battle to see Aragorn run out of the woods he was hiding in. He was dirty and his clothes were torn, but he was all right. His son was all right. He took a step towards Aragorn when Aragorn called in fear.

"Father, behind you!" his small voice could barely be heard amongst the harsh sounds of battle. Arathorn walked towards Aragorn, puzzled. Aragorn kept yelling and pointing, but Arathorn didn't know where. He quickly understood what his son was trying to warn about.

The orc that he had forgotten about came back to him as a pain raced through his back. He did not need to turn around to know that he was stabbed. He sank to his knees, numbed with pain. He looked up from the ground to look at Aragorn, his eyes pleading with his son to run, lest he too would be killed. Then the line of Isildur would end, and all of Middle- Earth would fall, for only an heir of Isildur could undo the wrongs that Isildur did.

Aragorn did run, but not in the direction Arathorn wanted him to. He felt that he lost all hope as Aragorn ran towards him, his little knife raised.

Aragorn was scared, more scared than he was up in that tree. What was he doing here? Why was he holding a knife? But fear overwhelmed him and his body told him to run at the monster and put his knife where the monster's heard should have been. He dimly heard the cries of the elven brothers telling him to stay where he was. A part of him wanted to. But another part of him, the part that was ruled by fear, told him to run and hurt the orc.

He ran screaming, not understanding what had just happened. When he reached his father, he jumped as high as he could, hitting the orc with his knife over and over again. The orc was surprised and therefore not prepared for the attack by the child. The orc fell easily, never taking his dead yellow eyes off of the child, the child that was supposed to be weak.

Aragorn turned away from the orc, it was too scary, and he didn't even want to be there anymore. He wanted to be in Imaldris with his father and mother and with Lord Elrond and his family. He started to cry, he was cold, miserable, and it seemed as if everything around him had been flipped upside down.

"Aragorn, what is it?" his father softly asked, concern showing on his face. He was still kneeling on the ground. Ignoring the pain in his back, he drew Aragorn to himself, savoring this one precious moment with his son.

"I'm cold, and tired, I-I want to go home!" Aragorn cried softly into his father's comforting shoulder. It was over, he thought to himself. It was over. It was only a nightmare and he would wake up in Rivendell and his mother would be there, making him get dressed and wash his face. His father would be there too, and he would play games with him and teach him how to hunt. He was only living in a nightmare, and it would be over soon.

"Shhhh,'ll be home soon, I promise," he comforted Aragorn, hugging him and rubbing his back in circles, which always worked at calming him down. He smiled a little as Aragorn stopped shivering against him. Aragorn would go home, but Arathorn couldn't. Rivendell was to far away for him to get there alive. By the time he got there, not even Lord Elrond would be able to heal him. He looked past Aragorn's small head, taking in the scene around him. It was over; the battle was finally over.

Elladan and Elrohir slew the last of the orcs and looked for Arathorn. He was over by Gilraen's body holding Aragorn. The twins thought that he was safe and smiled at him. Then Elladan noticed Arathorn's pale face.

"Elrohir, he is not well. His face is pale," he said to his brother.

"No, he is not. Let's go," Elladan caught Elrohir's arm before he could go any further. "Why Elladan? He needs our help!"

"Open your mind, Ro! Can you not sense that he is fading from this world? We have spent much of his life being his friend. Let him spend what life he has left being Aragorn's father!" Elladan's voice choked a little as he said this, the realization that he would never be with Arathorn again struck him. There was a pause as the brothers watched Arathorn and his son.

"By the Valar, Dan. You're right," Elrohir said quietly. "Let's clean this mess up a little shall we?" The brothers started to drag the orc corpses into a pile to burn, so that the woods would not have to suffer their rotting flesh. They crinkled their noses at the smell of decaying flesh, but they went ahead with their duty to the earth.

Arathorn felt lightheaded and dizzy, his vision was beginning to fade. He would be gone soon. He pulled Aragorn away to look at his face. Time stopped for a moment as Arathorn looked at his son. So much like myself when I was young, he thought. His heart was filled with regret, for he would never see his son grow. He would never be able to have what he and his father had. He looked hard into Aragorn's eyes, a soft piercing blue. Gilraen's eyes. He gasped as he fell back from Aragorn a little, pain coming to him wave after wave.

"Father, what's wrong?" asked Aragorn. He didn't understand what was happening, he was too young to. He didn't understand death or destruction. He was an innocent, the last few of Middle-Earth outside of the shire of the Hobbits and Bree.

"Aragorn, I need to go away now, I can't come back," Arathorn said gently, trying to ignore the ever-growing pain in his back and the greater pain burning his heart.

"Father, no! You can't leave me alone! Mother...she-she's sleeping, please Father, don't!" Aragorn started to cry again. He just found his father, why did his father have to leave him now?

"I have to Aragorn, I'm sorry. I can't stop it. But we will see each other again, this is not the end." Aragorn's tears broke his heart; a tear fell from his own eye. "Promise me that you will be good Aragorn," he commanded. "Promise me," he whispered.

"I promise, Father, I promise! Will you stay with me now?" Aragorn asked, hope shining in his eyes. Arathorn smiled sadly.

"No, I can't, but if you miss me and your mother, al you need to do is look at the brightest stars of the night, or inside your heart, and know that we are looking after you with all of the love in the world." Aragorn nodded, eyes full of tears once again.

"I love you, Father," he said, planting a wet, childish kiss on his father's cheek. Arathorn kissed the warm little forehead and said, "I love you too"

"Goodbye, my son, my hope," he said as the life left his body and eyes. Looking towards a light, he saw Gilraen waiting for him, as beautiful as ever. His body fell backwards, the eyes half-closed. A startled Aragorn fell on top of his father's body.

"No! No, Father! Father wake up! WAKE UP!" he screamed and cried, shaking his father's still body again and again. He did the same to Gilraen's crumpled body, but neither body took another breath. Finally, an exhausted Aragorn just sat between his parents' bodies, curled into a ball and sobbed.

"Mother, Father, come back to me, come back. I don't want to be alone. Come back. Wake up...Mother...Father...please..." over and over he said this. All was quiet in the night. Nothing could be heard except for his heart-breaking wails, wishing for something that he could never have again.

Elladan and Elrohir were about to burn the pile of orc corpses when they heard Aragorn's cry. "Illuvatar, no," Elrohir said, closing his eyes. Elladan didn't say anything except for the elven prayer for their fallen comrades.

They walked over to the small scene and paused, briefly unsure of what to do. Elladan moved first, picking up Aragorn and rocking him back and forth to quiet the boy, soothing his mind with flowing elvish. Elrohir bent down to the still faces and closed their eyes, the eyes that had been so full of life and love only a few hours before. He pulled off Arathorn's serpent ring, the Ring of Barahir, a kingly jewel. He also took Arathorn's Gondorian sword to give to Aragorn when he was older.

Aragorn had long ago quieted and fell asleep against Elladan. The brothers were at a loss of what to do next. They could not leave Arathorn and Gilraen's bodies in the wood. It would only dishonor their memory and their deeds. Yet they could not stay in the woods either, not with young Aragorn in the weakened condition he was in.

Suddenly, the twins heard hoof-beats. Elrohir knocked an arrow on his bow, ready to defend Elladan and Aragorn should the need arrive. A figure on a brown horse came into the light. It was Glorfindel. Both breathed sighs of relief.

"Your father sent me to find you. He sensed a great danger coming your way," Glorfindel said. He looked closely at the twins. Both had minor cuts and bruises, and their clothes were torn. Elladan was holding Aragorn in his arms. "Are you all right?" he asked them.

Elrohir sighed a little sigh. "We are," he said. "But that is not so with Gilraen and Arathorn. They were killed in an orc ambush." He gestured to Arathorn and Gilraen's still forms. "Aragorn is all the Dunedein have left. We must bring him back to Rivendell, Glorfindel. But we cannot leave them here, like this." Glorfindel nodded his understanding.

"Place both of their bodies on my horse, I will lead them back to Rivendell. Come, we have not the time to waste." With that, the small party of three elves and one human left the wood. Aragorn stirred a little in Elladan's arms, but did not awaken. Elladan held Aragorn closer to himself, his heart going out to the boy.

"What will happen to Aragorn, Ro?" he asked, turning towards Elrohir.

"I don't know. Ada will decide his fate, although it is not wise to leave Isildur's last heir alone in the world." Elrohir replied wearily. No more was said of the subject. None too soon, they arrived at the gates of Rivendell.

Elrond was waiting nervously at his window when the party entered the gates. He had foreseen danger when he sent Glorfindel to find his sons and Arathorn's family. He was relieved when he saw both of his sons walk into the gate with only minor injuries and tiredness. He smiled at the sight of Elladan carrying a child. But the smile was quickly gone from his face when he saw Glorfindel's horse bearing two familiar bodies. He flew down to the front of his house as fast as he could.

"What happened, ion nins?" he asked when they arrived.

"It's along story," began Elladan, but Elrohir interrupted him.

"We were attacked by orcs, Ada. There were too many, we were just barely able to stop them all. They killed Gilraen and Arathorn."

"I see," was all that Elrond said. After a short pause, he spoke again. "Glorfindel, take their bodies down to be cleaned, ad make a fitting memorial. We will see about a burial in the next few days, when we have all rested." Glorfindel nodded and left. Elrond turned to his sons. "Meanwhile, the two of you come with me."

After cleaning and healing the twins, Elrond took a close look at Aragorn. The boy was all right, just tired. He was in a peaceful slumber. Elrond's heart knotted painfully at the boy's fate. He carried Aragorn to a bed and tucked him in. He bought up some fruit and water for his sons, he was quite sure that neither of them had eaten yet. When they finished eating, Elrond asked them what happened again.

They told him of hunting with Arathorn and hearing the orcs. They told him of the fierceness in which the orcs fought, the fall of Gilraen and Arathorn, and Arathorn's last, tender moments with his only child. By the end, each, twin was weeping to their father's shoulders, seeking the type of comfort that only he could give his sons. The three of them fell asleep right then and there, and did not wake until the sun was high in the sky.

Elrond strode into the sleeping boy's room. He looked at Aragorn, deciding what to do with him, even though he knew he had made the choice when the child was born. Aragorn's sleeping face was hopeful, as if he believed that he would see his parents again. Elrond smiled sadly.

"Such a hopeful boy you are, Aragorn. Indeed, your people need the hope you have in your heart. You are the hope of men. I wonder..." his thoughts trailed a little. Aragorn yawned and rubbed his eyes and looked right into the face of Lord Elrond.

"Where are my mother and father?" he asked as a way of good morning. He sat up looking around the room for his parents. He didn't see them.

"Aragorn, they are dead. I am sorry." Elrond couldn't think of anything. He figured that simple truth was the best way to tell Aragorn.

"Then, it wasn't all a dream?" Aragorn's eyes were full again. "I'm all alone?" Elrond picked him up and sat him in his lap. How small this boy was. He was much too young to lose both parents at once.

"No, you are not alone. You will live with me, Elladan, and Elrohir, surrounded by people who love you. Would you like that?" Elrond asked. He hoped the boy would say yes. Aragorn was of his brother's line. Although the kinship was distant, it was still there.

"Yes, I would like it," Aragorn said decidedly. Rivendell was home, and he had no wish to leave it. But he felt empty somehow. Empty because he a had nobody to share his joy with. His parents weren't there, and they never would be with him again. They were gone forever. "What would Mother and Father say?" he asked Elrond. He could not ask them, but he could ask their friend.

Elrond smiled a little and put a hand on the boy's heart. "What does your heart tell you, ion nin?" Aragorn cocked his head and thought a moment. Elrond waited anxiously. He had not thought that in so short a time that a being so small would have so great of an effect on his heart.

"Yes," Aragorn said slowly. "I think that they would say yes." Elrond gave Aragorn a bigger smile. It was infectious to Aragorn, who wanted to reason to smile after his heartbreak.

"Oh, Estel! Hope of men! Ion nin! I had truly wished that you would say yes because I do not think that my heart could bear it if you had said no." Elrond held the boy he named Estel close to him.

"I can't say no. I don't want to leave ever again!" exclaimed Aragorn. But he was puzzled. "Why did you call me Estel and not Aragorn? And what do I call you now? Father?"

Elrond chuckled a little. "So many questions!" But he answered them anyways. "To your first questions, you are to live in my house now, you must be called an elven name. Estel is the name I give to you, a name from my heart." Even though he felt badly about lying to his son, he was too young to understand the meaning of his name, his destiny. "As for your second must not call me father, that is a name reserved for your human father only." Elrond paused, unsure of what to say next. Estel looked at him, his face graver than his own sons' had been when they were his age. Elrond looked into his eyes and saw that he still had yet to answer the question. "You shall call me...Ada, as Dan and Ro do." Elrond absentmindedly brushed a strand of dark hair away from the child's face.

"Ahhh-dahhhh," Estel rolled the unfamiliar word around his tongue. It was the word for father in elvish. "Ada?" he asked, hoping that he said it correctly. Elrond smiled and nodded. Estel squealed and jumped off of Elrond's lap, propelling him backward onto the bed an "oomph!"

"Sorry Ada!" Estel hastily called over his shoulder as he ran out of his room. "DAN! RO! Guess what? Your Ada is my Ada too! Dan! Ro! Where are you?" could be heard throughout the halls of Elrond's home until Estel found who he was looking for.

The laughter of the boys, for to Elrond's eyes, Elladan and Elrohir were still boys, could be heard, despite the grief and sadness that hung over them all. Elrond stayed in Estel'' room for awhile, savoring the laughter of children as they ran through his house. For too long, he had heard only quiet. Closing his eyes, he promised Arathorn that Aragorn would never want for anything, not as long as he remained on Middle-Earth. His heart sank a little as he realized that this period of happiness would not last to the next day, Aragorn would begin to remember again, what had happened to his parents the night before. The next day was to be their burial.

It was nightfall, all was quiet. Even the energetic Estel was asleep. His sons had been granted a holiday, in deference to the circumstances. That day had been happy, all of their grief forgotten. Elrond walked in the gardens and stopped at the stone statue of a human woman, holding her arms around a bowl.

"So you have chosen to take the responsibility for Isildur's heir." Came a stern, deep female voice. "He is mortal, his life span but a blink of an eye compared to yours. Will you be ready to let him go when the final hour comes, as you let Elros go?"

"Galadriel, I have been letting people go as long as I have lived, men and elves a like. I am ready to let him go when the time comes." Elrond was not telling the truth and they both knew it. There could be no untruths in the link of minds. "I took responsibility for him the day Arathorn and Gilraen entered my house with their newborn babe."

"But that was not what I asked of you. It is not your ability to care and love him I question, for your heart is great, ion nin. But I ask if your heart is able to take another pain. I warn you now, losing Aragorn will be as painful as if you were to lose Arwen." Her voice held no emotion. He could not discern her purpose.

"I will lose neither of them, as long as they stay in my heart. Will I be ready to let Aragorn go? Is a father ever ready to lose a child? No, I will never be able to let him go." Elrond didn't want to face that truth, not now.

"I have foreseen that Isildur's Heir will play a crucial part in the saving of Middle-Earth. You will lose him, for at the end, he will not be the Estel you know," was her cryptic reply. He wanted to answer her, but she was gone from his mind before he could reply. He understood her warning, for he too had seen how important his son would be. Galadriel only wished to know if he could lead Aragorn on the right path out of the many that stood before him now. But Arwen, he did not understand why she brought Arwen into it, she had nothing to do with Estel. He sighed and went back in to rest. It would be a hard day for them all tomorrow, especially for Estel.

The day was cloudy, and it looked as if it was about to rain. Estel held Elrond's hand as they walked in front of the procession through Rivendell. He looked stonily ahead at the statue of his mother, ignoring the stares and the whispers of the Dunedein and the overwhelming sympathy he felt coming from the elves. He could only think of that night, and how sad he felt. He dared not look back at the coffins that were being carried. He would only cry again if he did, and he could not. His human father would not have approved. Finally, he stopped at the two deep holes in front of the statue. He stood there for a moment then moved aside as the elves carrying the coffins lowered them into the ground. He watched as the dirt covered the coffins, burying his parents. He had seen their still bodies in the boxes; they looked like they were sleeping. He stated to cry. This was not happening. His parents were not, could not, be dead. He felt Elrond's hand tighten on his. He bowed his head.

When they were finished digging and everyone had left, he asked Elrond to be alone with his parents, to say goodbye to them. Elrond nodded and left him, saying that he needed to return before dinner. Estel knelt down in front of the headstones and placed a sprig of lavender on top of it. He lay down on top of the dirt that covered the grave and quietly spoke to his parents, hoping that somehow, they would hear him.

"Father, Mother...I miss you. Why did you leave me? I wish I could crawl between you because I'm scared. I'm alone; I don't know what to do. Ada says that you are happy now, and not hurt. He says that someday, maybe if I'm good, I can you again. But Ada and Ro and Dan are my family now. I think that you wouldn't mind." He looked up into the sky; the sun was beginning to set. It would be time for dinner soon. "I have to go now, it's dinner time. I love you both. Goodbye." With that, Estel got up and left the peaceful garden, never looking back, but looking forward, to a new period of his life. He breathed deeply. He felt that after saying goodbye, a great burden had been lifted from his chest.